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Monday, September 03, 2012 

Only low expectations can be found in DCnU's version of Superman

The Nashua Telegraph's written a fluff-drowned gush about Grant Morrison's take on Superman, even as he's already announced he'll be leaving the book and company:
When DC Comics relaunched the titles comprising its superhero universe last year, it took the opportunity to retool the Man of Steel a little bit. “Action Comics” started over with a new first issue, showing Superman in his earliest days – which, in this new universe, is five years ago. (“Superman” began again, too, but set in the present day.)

And in a stroke of brilliance, DC hired Grant Morrison to write “Action Comics.” Morrison is famous (or infamous) for gigantic, mind-blowing concepts and ideas (that are occasionally incomprehensible).
And that's just one reason why this rendition isn't worth the paper it's printed on. "Occasionally" is also downplaying the bigger problem; his ideas, particularly in his indie work, are often incomprehensible! And as I once said, his ideas of what Superman should be are ludicrous and downright exploitive.
So I was looking forward to the first collection, out this month. “Superman: Action Comics Volume 1 – Superman and the Men of Steel” ($24.99) collects the first eight issues of the new “Action Comics.” And for better or worse, it wasn’t what I expected.

Which is perhaps my own fault. I was so surprised – and pleased – to see a Superman with an attitude that I wanted the emphasis on that concept to continue. Not just because I also tend to side with the underdog, but because it’s bold, it’s brash and it’s courageous storytelling – all things you haven’t been able to say about the Superman books for a long, long time.

Like it or loathe it, this Superman was feisty, with an edge.
Yawn. Without Lois Lane as his paramour, I'm afraid he's lost some edge, and that's only the beginning. And 25 bucks for just 8 issues? They're starting to become almost like Marvel in charging too much for so little, recalling how page counts have been reduced by about 2 pages in recent years as their idea of how to cut costing corners. Even the Gaiman Sandman collections offer better page counts for at least 5 dollars less than this Superman trade costs.

I also have a problem with the assigned artist:
As to the art, I’m a big fan of artist Rags Morales, who brings not only tremendous talent and skill to the page, but deep thought to the concepts.
After Morales willfully took on the Identity Crisis assignment (and made crude comments to the press about how the audience not caring would be an insult to them), I have no more respect for him, and his artwork in retrospect was nothing to write home about. Yes, he's competent with anatomy, but his character designs are uninspired, and I remember that a decade ago, his designs for Carter Hall and Ray Palmer looked almost exactly the same! Even if the hair color is similar, that doesn't mean he couldn't come up with sufficiently differing designs for both them and other people in the books he's illustrated.
So this is an excellent update to the Man of Steel, especially compared with other such attempts, such as “Superman: Earth One” (2011), “Superman: Secret Origin” (2009) and “Superman: Birthright” (2003).

All of those also took the basic story with which we’re all familiar and tried to tweak it for the current century, with mixed results. “Action Comics” is more imaginative and entertaining on almost every level.

So call it the prejudice of high expectations. When you attach the name Grant Morrison to Superman, I expect to have my brain blown out the back of my head. But “Action Comics Volume 1” is “only” a terrific comics collection full of action, humor and high concept.

This would be a high-water mark for any other book, with any other creative team. With Morrison and Morales, though, I expect the best is yet to come.
Well sorry to burst your bubble, but Morrison's already announced his departure, making this article a hilarious anachronism. Even if Morrison did stay on, it would more likely be lousy as any superhero book DC and Marvel are publishing now, but since Morrison's leaving, there's every chance the next writer will either be just as bad, or burdered by editorial fiat, or someone whose talents plummeted over the past years.

And there's every chance that the same people who call Morrison's take on Superman "excellent, imaginative, entertaining" said the same about previous attempts to update the Man of Steel for the new century, and will continue to do so even when the next writer with an overrated resume takes up the reins. So this is no different.

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This article appeared in the Star Tribune a few weeks ago... it seems all Andrew "Captain Comics" Smith ever does is gush about current comics and whenever someone criticizes them he goes into attack mode. I don't think he EVER has a negative review of a comic. Also i didn't like how he implied that Superman's friendship with Jimmy Olsen had pedophiliac undertones.

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